Magic of Music: therapy for dementia

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, February 6 2019

Looking to engage the power of music, the Gabriola Recreation Society is hosting a new program to help those who are living with dementia. 

“The Magic of Music - Music Therapy for Dementia” is being planned as a 10 week program for one hour on Fridays at the GRS Office. 

It will be  run by music therapist Katherine Graff. No music experience is necessary. 

As Graff explained, “The goal of the program is not to be a musician but to use music to reactivate parts of the brain that might be having a hard time functioning in isolation. 

“Music is one of the only activities that activates the entire brain at once. Hans Christian Andersen said it best by claiming, “Where words fail music speaks.””

According to Graff, Music Therapy can increase reality orientation; cognitive function; motor coordination; language skills and social bonds. It can decrease aggression; anxiety; blood pressure and the need for medication.

GRS Board member Nancy Boyes, who works with seniors in her own business, said the goal is to create an opportunity for dementia patients to respond to stimuli; reminisce and express themselves with the use instruments and vocals.

What the Rec Society needs to know is how many people may be interested in taking part in the program. There are 12 spots available including caregivers if needed. The proposed cost for the program is $10 per session X 10 sessions = $100. Caregivers are also free to drop off the participant and leave them for the hour. If the caregiver stays they are asked to participate. Katherine can work with many different levels at the same time. An AED will be on site.

In order to know what kind of budget might be required to offer assistance with costs and transportation, the GRS needs people who are interested in the program to register with the GRS office so the GRS can ensure that kind of assistance is available to those who need it.

A free sample class is being offered on Friday, February 15 at 11am. Anyone wanting to attend should call Virginia at the GRS office to get their name on the list. 250-247-2014.